Friday, August 31, 2012

Funtry Friday *ahhhhh* moments!

Ah!  Look!  It's not all rain here - in fact, most of the time we have beautiful blue skies.


Hershey says:  "Ah.  I am sure if I stare at this wall it will disappear and I will be able to get to the hay that I know is in there!"


Billie Jane says:  "Ah.  What is that?"



Ah... don't panic.  This is not guinea carnage.  It's just a guinea spa moment as they all take a dust bath together!


Ah - er, more like awwwwwww!  A good picture of the little babies - good enough that I can tell that they will be "feather footed"!


Ah!  So this is what they do after the sod is harvested at the sod farm!  They play in the sprinklers and go mud boggin'!


And a double ahhhhh!  Yay!  Sunflowers and some time to do a little ACEO painting of one!


This is an original mixed media watercolor and ink painting that is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (6.4 cm x 8.9 cm).  An ACEO (Art Card Editions and Original) is a collectible art card.

Hope you had a bunch of ahhhh moments today, too!

Happy Funtry Friday!
Blessings,
Kathy

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Out of the art box and onto the table!

If you are an artist - make time to do your artwork!

Seriously... don't let *stuff* keep you so busy that days pile into weeks without time to create.  Want some ideas to give yourself a little jump start?

Here you are ~

Get a pretty new journal where you can sketch and write your thoughts.  Or, in my case, pull out the one you got a while ago and didn't use yet.


Get a new pen and play with it.  Emphasis on play!


Do something different.  Are you a sculptor?  try your hand a beading!  Do you make jewelry?  try photography!  Are you a photographer?  try painting!  Do you paint?  dabble in sculpture!  I did.


I read the greatest hint in this book - make a model of the character you want to draw.  Duh.  Sometimes I wonder why the simplest ideas are the hardest ones to discover.  Here is our book's newest character (more or less - he still needs a few refinements), but now I can easily see what he looks like from different angles.  Ahhhhhh!

Oh, our book?  Yes - it is progressing after a bit of a break!


Sketches are being turned into drawings, expressions are being refined, and our new little character is being added here and there.


Working on a project you enjoy is another fun way to jump start your creativity!

Taking time to enjoy the beauty of God's creation is another wonderful way that I refresh myself.  During a recent spectacular sunset, I did this little 7 x 10 inch (18 x 25 cm) original watercolor while braving the adventures of plein aire painting... on my back porch.  Tremendously brave aren't I?


Hey.  There were bugs out there.  *applause* to the real plein aire painters! 

But, seriously - have an art adventure - it is a delightful way to spark some creative energy!  Take a class, enjoy a workshop, have an art/sewing/craft party with friends, take your art on a road trip, travel to a museum, visit an art gallery, or find a wonderful arts and craft fair to wander through. 

What are you doing to nourish your creativity?

Happy creating!
Blessings,
Kathy

PS - Any ideas for a title for my little watercolor painting?  haha - I must have used up all my creativity while painting, because I have no idea what to call it!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reflections



 
Our lives are made up of years, months, days, hours, minutes… seconds… all strung together moment by moment.  Joy, sorrow, waiting, wanting, hurrying, resting…

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  Ecclesiastes 3:4 NET

Milestones of births and firsts – first sounds, first teeth, first steps away…

But Jesus called for the children, saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Luke 18:16 NET

Learning, reading, growing, seeking, becoming…  Finding.  Working. Life unfolds, moment by moment… school, employment, marriage… moments to commemorate… moments to celebrate…

Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana Galilee.  Jesusmother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. John 2:1-2 NET

Sometimes I feel I am in the center of the excitement, sometimes on the fringe watching the excitement pass me by… but always, relentlessly, the stream of time moves at its unchanging pace.  Each exciting extravaganza followed by each time of quiet…

When they got out on the beach, they saw a charcoal fire ready with a fish placed on it, and bread. John 21:9 NET

I wake up and wonder at the years that have passed by me.  Meals cooked, homes cared for, moves made, births, graduations, marriages, deaths… It seems like just yesterday (insert a stream of memories here…) and only a little while ago (look at some photographs) and can it really be (insert minute, hour, day, month year)?  If I dwell on these thoughts, they weigh me down and fill me with sorrow for the past joy now departed…

Jesus wept.  John 11:35 NET

But, if I stop and quietly listen to the ‘now’…  Do you hear it?   The sound of a heart singing!

Praying, praising, and quietly listening to Him.

Yet Jesus himself frequently withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.  Luke 5:16

It is a heart that is gratefully accepting the peace and healing that He provides.

Blessings,
Kathy

For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.
Hebrews 4:15-16 NET

Friday, August 24, 2012

Funtry Friday full of sun, rain, mud, and soggy popcorn!

We have had just enough rain to make mud pies and sunflowers.  The mud pies aren't too bad unless they are stuck to the bottom of your shoes - and the sunflowers are splendid!  I decided to paint one on a birthday card for my friend, Margie - not sure that I am ready to call the painting "all finished", but it is close.

 
The rain brings out all sorts of other things, too - like these cute toadstools.  I am thinking that a little painting will happen with this photo, too.
 
 
And (not sure why I think the theme from Jaws should play in the background...) here comes a mushroom ~
 
 
Right in the middle of the picture.  That white thing that looks like a rock... LOL - I am easily amused by odd flora and fauna... and ridiculous photographs... 
 
And clouds.
 
 
What am I doing out here taking lame pictures of mushrooms instead of great pictures of clouds?  Ummm... while listening to the thunder... and watching the lightening... 
 
Time to head inside!  (With a quick stop to snap one last photo of an almost perfect heart shaped rock!)
 
 
 
Hope you had some fantastic Funtry Friday sights, too!  Oh, and yes - I did get LOTS of rain - and more pictures *from the porch*!
 
Blessings,
Kathy

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Enjoy the moment!

Swallows fly for the sheer joy of flying.  I watched them this morning as they traced intricate patterns on the sky.  I watched them as they flew to the narrow edge (not even a ledge!) of the trim above my door.  I listened to them chatter while they briefly sat there between flights.  Not just one or two - but 15 or 20 of them.  I watched them without my camera.  I watched them for the sheer joy of watching them enjoy being Swallows.

Sometimes moments slip by and I find that I have lots of pictures but not always lots of memories.  Technology can be fun, but it can also be intrusive.  I do take a lot of photographs, both for fun family events and also for reference for my artwork.

But sometimes, like today, I deliberately set aside the camera and concentrate on simply being where I am, when I am, for no other purpose that to completely enjoy that moment.

It's not a luxury.  It's a necessity.  We were not created to work constantly, to go continually, to expend all of our energy on THE task that needs to be done NOW...  If that were the case, we would not need sleep, experience burnout, or feel a need to escape for a vacation.

We were created with a need to balance work and rest, worship and service, play and....

Oh - there go the swallows again - right outside my window...  Care to take a break with me and go enjoy them for a while?

Blessings,
Kathy

Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 Net

Friday, August 17, 2012

Oooo! Ahhhhh! Ick! Funtry Friday!!!

Isn't this pretty?  Such a bright yellow and such soft green foliage - it just needs to be a painting!  The flowers are very daisy like and delicate.  What is it?  Ummm.... well... ahhh... If you move here, I can let you have some seeds.  Ahem.  It's a beautiful (weed) plant!


Well, I thought I was going to have to show you an empty Swallow nest this week, but...


These little big guys swooped in and were resting here - out of the way of the rain!


Yay!  Enough to make a puddle!


Which, of course, will make all our weed plants grow... er, and some of these lovely weeds, too.


Grrrr.... which make what are laughingly called seeds.  Whoever heard of a seed that looks like this?


Stickers.  That's what they are.  *ugh*  But!  I recently saw a much maligned weird unusual inch long bug (don't look, Pam!) that looks like a cross between a lady bug and a beetle.  I had no idea what it was, but it was eating those weeds.


However, the bad news is that it is a type of blister beetle... Megetra vittata.  Glad I am not raising my own hay and glad that they don't seem to be a big problem around here.  At least now I know why the chickens won't eat them...

Hope you have a great Funtry Friday wherever you are!

Blessings,
Kathy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Having some mixed media fun!


It's a well known fact that watercolor paper is, well paper. And WATERcolor paint is floated on top of the watercolor paper. When the watercolor paint is dry, if you add water you can lift the color right off the watercolor paper.

That is all just fine - if you are still working on your painting and that is what you want to do. However, if you have framed your watercolor painting without glass and someone has doused it with a latte (ack - the waste!), your paint will mix with the coffee and permanently change color.

That is why watercolor paintings are framed with glass over them. Usually a mat is added to keep the glass from sitting directly on top of the painting, too. And, that is one reason why some people don't like watercolor paintings - they don't like glass.

Well, you know I like to experiment so I decided to have a little fun and turn a watercolor painting into a mixed media painting and frame it without glass.  I haven’t tried this on anything larger – this little painting of Bethie is 4 inches square.

I created this mixed media painting on archival 140# watercolor paper. It has paper collaged onto the watercolor paper with acrylic medium. I then created a pen and ink drawing and painted that drawing with artist grade watercolor paints. The painting was sprayed with a UV protective spray and the surface was coated with acrylic medium. This was all done so that the lovely little watercolor painting could be framed without glass.

It has lasted well over the years, but I have taken steps to make sure that it isn’t in direct sun.  All lattes have been consumed without dousing the painting, too!  It is fun to have the look of watercolor without having the glass in the frame and the coating adds a nice subtle texture to the surface.  You can see a little bit of the textured lines of the acrylic medium in this photo.


I had lots of fun creating this little painting and trying something new!  Do you have a favorite project that was lots of fun?

Blessings,
Kathy

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Go for the Gold!

Olympic Dressage
Well, the Olympics are ending today, but the story will go on and on for many of the competitors.

Athletes have spent many, many, many hours, months, and years of training, developing skills, gaining bodily strength and stamina, as well as constantly seeking more knowledge to perfect their talent and rise to a higher competitive level.

Then they repeated the process.  More years of training, learning better skills, becoming even stronger and wiser so that they might achieve the next higher level of competition.

...so that they can repeat the process again, and again, and again, after each new level of competition is accomplished...

I wonder if those who won the "Gold" remember what it was like to begin.  Do they remember what it was like before they invested that first hour of their time?  Are they so far distanced from that moment that they couldn't explain "step one" to a beginner? 

What about those who didn't win anything?  Were they so consumed by their passion that now there is nothing but a yawning emptiness that engulfs them? 

I was glad to see that some of the competitors were not hesitant to thank God for their talent.  I remember one competitor who did not win, but was grateful that the Lord gave her a chance to compete. 

Balance.

Being passionate about a dream is one thing.  Being consumed by it is another.  Keeping our eyes on the "Big Picture" while we steadfastly follow our dreams allows us to grow and flourish.  That helps us to accept the defeats as well as the victories - and to remember how far we have come since we took that first step toward the dream.

Blessings,
Kathy

I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith!
2 Timothy 4:7 NET

Friday, August 10, 2012

Funtry Friday - rain, roads, and birdies!

How much rain have we had?  Well... one of Granddaddy's 10 inch rains - with the rain drops 10 inches apart!


But, then when it does rain, it really RAINS!


Ahhhhh!  Such nice big, muddy puddles - great for splashing!  The road, however, seems to have gotten the rain and water running in the wash. 

(No, I wasn't driving when I took the picture. I was parked right in the middle of the road fumbling with the camera and wishing that I had washed the windshield.)


 See the two rocks on the left side of the road?  Redneck cones...  You know - like the traffic cones those big companies used on the roads?  We are too busy giving those cones to the horses, donkeys, and goats, so rocks are what mark the 'hot spots' on the roads.


Whoopsie!  Ahem.  Not the first time this has happened here, and I'm sure it will get fixed pretty soon.  Until then, the road is still wide enough for one vehicle - even if it is the size of the UPS truck.  Two vehicles?  not so much...

And, back home, the baby Swallows are not quite so tiny anymore!  Earlier this week they still had a few fuzzy feathers.


I think the Mama went on strike today, though.  She kept flying over to the nest and then away.  Then she would sit in the tree and call to them trying to entice them out of the nest.  Of course, every time she flew up to the nest, they got all excited!


Up until I saw this photo, I thought that there were four babies in the nest.  Here, I can tell that there are really five.  Well, unless one of them is a gymnast and has been folded in half...

Hope you had lots of fun sights in your neck of the woods!
Happy Funtry Friday!

Blessings,
Kathy

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Does Fall stir the student in you?

Somehow the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall always reminds me of my grade school years.  I really enjoyed learning new things and I looked forward to the beginning of a new school year.  I still do!
 
Remember this little guy from my watercolor class?
 


Well, I have been playing around with some of the new things I learned in my class.  I took the masking fluid off of the twisty horseshoe in the front and began adding some color to it.


Then I couldn't stand it anymore, so I took all of the masking fluid off and "unwrapped" my painting!


Pretty fun, huh?!  There are lines and spaces of all the tones in the painting that were kept nice and crisp by the masking fluid.  haha - It seems odd to see my little critter all white instead of green.  Hmmm...  maybe this little critter won't be grey after all!


Just joking (maybe)!  I gave the little critter a light wash of grey and warm browns, and added some more detail and color to the horseshoe.  I also added some of the shadows.  I keep thinking that I want to add some dry grass on the right side.  What do you think?

Fall definitely makes me think about taking classes, but, until I can manage to go to another watercolor class, I am going to have fun with a library book.  Currently I am enjoying "Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors" by Ray Hendershot.  It's a really great book with lots of fun texture ideas clearly explained.  It also has lots of step by step photos that show the results of his process.  It's a little class at home!  Nice to have a fun indoor project on these hot Summer days.

Hope you are having lots of Summer fun!  Happy Creating!
Blessings,
Kathy


Back to school supplies, clothes, accessories, art, anything related to the back to school madness

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday morning...


The roosters begin calling to each other at dawn announcing that a new day has started.  Sound carries a lot farther in the country, so the echoing calls of other roosters drift my way, too.  Each rooster has a slightly different sound just like people have different voices.  I enjoy listening to the early morning serenade, though some other people find it unpleasant.

We are all different – no two people completely identical.  Isn’t that wonderful?  Even identical twins are not completely the same.  Unique – each one of us! …in all of our good points and our imperfections…

Of course, if we were all the same we would probably get along a lot better.  It’s also a possibility that we could all die of boredom in 15 minutes.

Yes, I was reading a bit of the news again this week and, yes, I have a few more thoughts about grumbly people.

I have been a Christian business owner of a brick and mortar store and more than one home based business.  I have hired all kinds of people - some of whom agreed with my Christian point of view and some who were polar opposites.  I have had all kinds of customers, too.  Employees were trained to do their jobs well and excellent customer service has always been my goal. 

Separating and setting aside those who merely claim Christianity from those who truly live Christianity, there is only one way that a true Christian should manage a business and that is based on the Christian principles that govern  a Christian’s life.  Having been in those shoes, I can say that it is a difficult thing to do.  Enter our human-ness.  It is worth it, though, even when this viewpoint isn’t popular.  Fortunately, we live in a wonderful country where differing viewpoints are protected by our Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  Bill of Rights, First Amendment.

A lot of people around the world do not have the freedoms we have here, and we need to do all we can to protect those freedoms.  One thing we can do is allow others to hold opinions that are not the same as our opinion.  Say what you believe, vote for what you believe, boycott what you want to boycott, support what you want to support, but allow me the freedom to do the same.  The principles that I use to run my business may be different from yours.  My vote may be different – it may be the same.  The important thing is to cherish and protect our freedoms so that we may each continue to have free exercise of religion (or lack of religion) and freedom of speech as well as the other freedoms our Constitution guarantees.

Do I believe in taking my personal views into the ‘market place’?  Yes. Do I have a problem when people with opposing views take their views to the ‘market place’?  No.  There are businesses I like to support because of the views of the owners of the businesses, and some that I avoid because the owners support things I don’t want to support.  Do I believe that name calling and label flinging can accomplish any good?  No.  Do I believe in the need to have civil conversations?  Yes.

I am glad that I live in a country where I can use the Bible as my guide for my life and my business, I can shop where I want to shop, and I can buy (or not buy) what I want to buy.  It’s called freedom.  A lot of countries don’t allow that freedom.  Let’s work hard to protect and respect the freedom we have!

Blessings,
Kathy

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And do not rely on your own understanding.
Acknowledge Him in all your ways,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NET

Friday, August 3, 2012

la-lala ~ Country Roads ~ hum-m-mm - Funtry Friday!

Haha - got that tune stuck in your head now?   Care to join me on a little Funtry Friday Country Road Tour?

****yawn****  Let's start with a serenade!


That will get you up and moving!  How about a little drive?


Wow!  Loving these glorious clouds we are having!  Some of them even bring a bit of rain...


...ick, and mud.  The wash had a bit of water in it, but, by the time I was there, it was more puddles than anything else.  However, the clouds were still glorious, and...


There was a beautiful double rainbow!  The second rainbow starts just above the last tree on the right.  This rainbow made a complete arc at one point, but it was sooooo big that I couldn't get the entire rainbow in one picture!

After the rain and the rainbow, we had another incredible sunset!


We have the most amazing colors in our sunsets and sun rises out here!

Now that we are back home - how about a peek at the baby swallows?


They sure are getting big!  I was surprised to see that the eggs in the nest by my front window have hatched, too.  That will be the second batch of babies from that nest, too.  Needless to say, we have a LOT of swooping swallows around here!

Hope you are having a wonderful Funtry Friday out in your neck of the woods!

Blessings,
Kathy







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